NASPA Tech Tools Done and Open to Everyone

I know that I’ve been neglecting this blog for quite some time.  I’ve spent my time blogging over at the NASPA Tech Tools program.  That program is now formally completed so my time and attention will now swing back over to this blog.

More importantly, we’ve opened up all of the material in that program (an 8-week series of blog posts introducing different technologies to student affairs professionals) to everyone; it was previously limited to NASPA members.  All of the original content is licensed under a Creative Commons license so we hope that others will be able to save time and energy by reusing some of the content we developed.

Overall, I am very pleased with how the program turned out.  I am most pleased with the support we received from NASPA throughout the entire program.  The format is a new approach for NASPA and I don’t know if it will be tried for other content but it seemed to make the most sense for this content, particularly as using a blog to present the material was a visible and ongoing demonstration of one of the technologies introduced.  It also fed right into other technologies we discussed such as RSS, tagging and folksonomies, and videos (God bless Lee LeFever and his “… in Plain English” videos!).  NASPA was also completely open when we told them that we wanted to register a new domain name and hosted service.  I was a bit apprehensive to ask to do that but the technical requirements dictated that approach.  It was the right move as it not only allowed us to easily conduct this program (mad props to Christina Dulude who wrote the custom WordPress plugin that made the blog accessible only to logged-in NASPA members!) but it also gives the Technology Knowledge Community a platform for continued experimentation.

I am also very pleased with the content and how it all turned out.  I am particularly fond of how we covered blogs and RSS and I hope participants got a lot out of those two topics as they seem to be the ones that can most immediately make their jobs and lives easier and more interesting.  There were some topics that were more difficult than others to cover because they’re a bit hard to cover in just one or two blog posts.  And, of course, there are topics that we couldn’t cover during the program.  I dearly wish we could have found some way to look at mobile technologies.  I also wish we could have spent more time exploring the cultural changes intertwined with many of these technologies.

In terms of how popular the program was, Awstats and Google Analytics both tell me that there were only a few hundred unique visitors.  I’m curious to see how and if that will change now that non-NASPA members can access the content.  And even “just a few hundred” participants is still a good turnout for such a unique kind of program and larger than many other programs!